Goshen Women’s Soccer were just 46 seconds away from their fourth consecutive away win last Saturday. The Maple Leafs traveled to Centerville, Indiana, to take on Indiana University East.
Junior Megan Bower opened the scoring in the six-minute mark after a cross from first-year Lauren Cernak, who leads the team with three assists this season. The goal marked Bower’s first since returning from a year of three back-to-back injuries.
IU East immediately responded by taking the next six shots in the game with five of them being on frame. Sophomore keeper, Katie Baer made all five saves and went into halftime with a total of 6.
At halftime the Red Wolves led the Leafs in total shots, taking nine to Goshen’s three. But Goshen went into the break with the 1-0 lead.
IU East began the second half with three corners, but the first shot of the half came from Goshen senior, Mara Beck in the 52nd-minute. The Red Wolves had five of the next shots and one corner before the Maple Leafs were able to take another hit on goal. Cernak struck the ball but it went wide.
IU East continued to test the Leafs defense with seven more shots and two goals disallowed by offside calls. The Maple Leafs were pushed back into their own half and were unable to form any sort of attack.
With 46 seconds remaining on the clock, Baer punched out a cross from IU East’s Cendy Mejia, but the ball fell to the edge of the box where KK Smith was waiting. Smith struck the ball low and hard into the bottom left corner of the goal, preventing Baer from claiming her third consecutive clean sheet and a Maple Leaf win.
The equalizer also ended the 274-minute shutout streak, which doesn’t include Wednesday’s abandoned match against Michigan-Dearborn which would have put the streak at 337 minutes. Had Wednesday’s game counted it would have been the third-longest shutout streak in school history.
There was still time in the game for one last effort for the Maple Leafs to regain their lead. With six seconds remaining, senior Allison Ebersol was able to shoot on frame but it was saved by IU East keeper Amanda Nicholson and the game went into overtime.
In the two 10-minute periods played, IU East outshot Goshen 8-2. Whilst all eight of the Red Wolves attempts failed to be on target, both of Cernak’s shots required Nicholson to make a save.
In the dying seconds of the game, Bower, Cernak and Ebersol all found themselves at the edge of the Red Wolves box. With the 10-second countdown being called through the speaker, the trio desperately tried to get one last shot off that would hopefully win the game. But the Red Wolves defense responded by blocking any channel that would allow for a shot and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
After 120 minutes of play, the Red Wolves tallied 17 corners and had 13 of their 30 shots on goal. Baer’s 12 shots was a season-high for the 19 year old.
“The team’s initial response and energy was amazing at the beginning of the game which gave us the lead,” said Baer. “The tough conditions, mentally and physically, really tested us but I’m still proud of where this teams heart is and I’m still proud we got the tie.”
After acknowledging the disappointment of being scored on so late in the game, Beck, a captain for the Leafs, echoed Baer’s pride in the team: “We keep proving to ourselves and others that we are definitely not the same team as last year,” she said.
The tie takes the women’s record to 3-1-1 with the next game kicking off tonight at 7 p.m. at the John Ingold Athletic Complex. The Maple Leafs face Holy Cross College in their Go 4 The Goal game as the team raises money to fight pediatric cancer.